Letting go lightly As I observe the changing of the leaves, I know that they will soon begin to fall to the earth after their last magnificent display of color. With this daily reminder of release, I cannot help but consider the impermanence of each season, and admire the ease with which the trees accept the cycles of life and simply let go. As humans, we often find ourselves fighting transition, clinging to what used to be or ruminating about what might have been instead of letting go of our old attachments and embracing change. Often, we cling to our baggage in order to avoid the sensation of experiencing new pain, or because we feel entitled to our burdens, consciously or subconsciously attempting to utilize our past to define and protect the image we have created of ourselves. In reality, the energy that we waste holding on to old grudges, relationships that have ended or emotions or habits that no longer serve to enhance our lives detracts from our ability to clearly experience the important aspects of the present moment and blocks us from potential opportunity, abundance and joy. Practice letting go: Life contains with it countless opportunities to let go, whether we are ready or not. To develop resilience and cultivate the ease with which you can release, start with these three simple practices.
1. Asana (Posture) practice - Gently stretch your shoulders and neck, paying careful attention to this common area where our bodies tend to store stress. Gently circle the shoulders, roll the neck and imagine your pain/burden/issue dissolving.
2. Pranayama (Breathing) practice - Take a few deep breaths, and feel the physical relief that ensues upon a prolonged exhalation. Breathing with an awareness of the belly and chest targets the area where we tend to store grief. Exhaling fully can release toxins and allow us to loosen the grip from emotional pain.
3. Emotional release practice - Remember, emotions are an ever changing aspect of our life experience, but they do not define us at the core of who we are. Notice if you tend to say, "I am sad," or "I am tired." Try replacing these phrases with ones like "I FEEL hungry" or "I FEEL concerned." Realize that in times of transition, emotions may be strong. Developing the mentality of the witness that observes emotions without becoming swept away with them is a powerful tool in the practice of learning to let go. When we no longer identify with our emotions, we can discharge them from our energy body more efficiently through practices like 1 and 2.
Practice letting go in the little ways so that when life presents a challenge, you are ready to let go in the big ways. Begin to trust the process of the universe, and surrender to what is. The past is over and the future is yet to come, and we do not know what it will hold. Can you let go of what you had, or of the life you thought you would live, without putting up a wall to the opportunities that are now, and to come? Can you allow a door to close in your face without allowing disappointment to close your heart? Can you let go of the pain of the past in order to journey lighter into the future? This fall, release lightly and let go with ease. Look at the beauty of the trees and follow their example, offering what is past and trust in the growth that will occur in seasons to come. If all else fails, please enjoy this clip from FROZEN ;)